Wednesday, February 28, 2007

We Deliver Free Smells

A candid from downtown Lincoln, Nebraska. Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Flinstones, Meet the Flinstones

Today's photo is a collateral candid shot I got while looking for people on cellphones at UNL. I wasn't aware that UNL students participated in dunebuggy races, but I can't say it doesn't sound like fun. :) Click to enlarge.

Monday, February 26, 2007


I went to UNL the other day and made it my mission to try to snap people using cellphones. Why? There is no why! (BTW --I was on the lookout for camera phone use, Darren -- but to be honest, outside of Times Square, I don't think I've ever seen people using camera phones in public!) I snagged some football pictures and some random candids too, but I'll put those in another post. Click any of the photos below to enlarge them.

The last one turned out to be an Ipod. Oops! :)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

It's A' Me!

I was testing out how slow I could handhold the new lens using interior lighting and mirror and ended up with this ego-centric self portrait. :)

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Good Lord, is it ever SNOWING outside! Flakes are the size of dollar coins and it's coming down at a ridiculous rate. To top it off, the sky has been rumbling with thunder -- only the second time I've experiend thundersnow.


Today's photo is from an alley in Lincoln behind a parking garage (click to enlarge). It's been a while since I tilted a photo for no good reason. ;) A long time ago at work, we had a consultant from Poynter come and give a talk on all things newspaper. One of the things he pointed out is that, in the photojournalistic setting, camera tilt should only be used in instances where camera tilt actually makes visual sense or adds something to the telling of the story. I think for photojournalism, this really rings true. Often, a tilted camera is just an indication that the photographer needs a wider angle lens, as they're trying to squeeze more elements into the photo by turning it diagonal; I know this was true for me back when 28mm was the widest that I could go.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Capitol at Sunset

The capitol building of Lincoln, Nebraska, at sunset. This was taken from atop a parking garage. (The building at left is a bank office building.) Click to enlarge.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sunset over Lincoln

A couple photos of the sun setting over Lincoln, Nebraska. I'm kinda proud of myself: I managed to make my new lens (the 70-200 2.8) have a tiny bit of flare in the first image. :) Considering it's pointing directly at the sun, that tells you a lot about the lens' flare control. Click to enlarge.


Are you a geek? Here's one way to tell: if you think the below video is undeniably awesome and you would like to immediately copy this idea, then you, my friend, are a geek:

I wish I had some idea how in the world they were accomplishing this. The laser projector part seems pretty straight forward, but the laser pen interface has me stumped. I suppose they must have some kind of camera rigged up to a computer to track the green dot as input, which then instructs the projector to render along with the dot.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Simulating the DOF trickery of a tilt & shift with Photoshop

I ran across a very interesting tutorial today:

How to create fake miniature environments

Essentially, this tutorial is simulating an effect that can be created by using a tilt & shift lens. (Or an effect that can be created by using a normal lens with a wide aperature to take a photograph of a very small area, or a 50mm lens the size of Tokyo taking a picture of Tokyo, or a telephoto lens several miles long)

I find this tutorial interesting because our brains immediately believe that the thing that is being looked at must be very small. Why? Because many years of photography have trained us to believe that an extremely shallow depth of field can never occur over large, distant planes. This kind of depth of field can only be found in very close macro shots of very tiny objects. We have, in essence, developed a sort of visual literacy when it comes to depth of field. Yes, of course, our eyes experience depth of field, but our eyes are roughly like 18mm lenses, and as such the depth of field is fairly large. The literacy has changed a bit, too, since we've shifted from large format photography (which had much narrower DOFs) to 35mm. Likely, the image below if shown to someone from the 11th century would not appear to be "miniaturized", it would simply appear fuzzy at the top and the bottom, assuming they could comprehend the idea of a photograph at all.

Here's my fun experiment, a shot of San Francisco at sunset from the Coit Tower (click to enlarge):

Lincoln Skyline Abstract

This is another abstract shot with the 70-200 2.8. It's the Lincoln skyline. don't believe me? Just turn your head sideways! :) Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Today's photo is an abstract of the reflection of a streetlight in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska, in my continuing adventures of playing with my new 70-200 lens. Click to enlarge. :)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Kenko Pro 300 1.4X TC test

Picked up an el-cheapo Kenko Pro 300 1.4X teleconverter the other day. Well, not so much picked up as received via Ebay from some vendor in Hong Kong. :) For as inexpensive as it is, most tests show that this teleconverter is equal to the $300+ Canon teleconverter in terms of image quality, though it's not weathersealed. (Not a big deal -- my 20D isn't weathersealed, so weathersealing is wasted on me, anyway.)

In keeping with tradition, I went down to the back-alley parking lot of my apartment and shot some pictures of a squirrel munching away at the feed that our superintendent likes to set out. This was tested with a Canon 70-200 2.8L IS and the 1.4X TC @ F4. (Basically, wide open, but the TC reduces the available light to F4) On a 20D, that's effectively about 450mm... quite a bit of reach at F4 for a lens that only weighs a few pounds! Click to enlarge:

The above is cropped in slightly from the original.

This is a 100% crop of the image to give an idea of the detail. It has been unsharp masked, so this isn't raw lens performance, but it gives you an idea what's possible with this lens and the 1.4X TC.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Here's an old picture of Josh from a camping trip we went on a few years back. This was taken at a place called "Indian Caves" in southeastern Nebraska -- quite a cool place to camp, at least for a state entirely devoid of mountains and the like. :) In the spring, they have old-timey stuff like blacksmithing and soap making. Click to enlarge.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Some more fire pics

The last batch of fire photos went over well, so here a few more from the night. :) These were all shot with my 10-22 EF-S lens, which is, by far, the favorite lens in my bag. Click to enlarge any of the photographs below:

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The End of 926 South 10th Street

So, I'm going outside at 3AM to pop something in the mailbox, when I look up at the capitol building and say to myself: "Self, why is there a great big deck of fog blowing past the capitol?". After a moment of groggy contemplation, it occurs to me that that's probably not steam, it's smoke. Smoke from a... structure fire! Holy cow, a structure fire within walking distance!

No, the capitol building wasn't on fire (phew!) I hopped in my car with my camera gear, and drove down to 10th street, where an apartment building was pretty well engulfed. Slinging my tripod over my shoulder, I walked down to the fire. Neat thing about owning a big camera: everyone assumes you're shooting for media. :) (In this case, I ended up shooting for media, as we're running one of the shots in the newspaper here at work.) Fortunately, everyone got out of the building safely.

The most startling moment was when the house, which had been slowly filling with water, suddenly blew the front door right off it's hinges, nearly into the street. A tidal wave of water maybe 2 feet high came pouring out of the place, washing over the street. Wish I had shots of it, but I was busy running away, since I thought the entire building was coming down.

For what it's worth, any doubts I had about spending the extra money on the 2.8IS lens instead of the 4.0IS lens went out the window last night. The few telephoto shots that I took would have been nearly impossible at f/4, as I was already backed to the wall at 800 or 1600 ISO at 1/30th of a second or below. Here are some photos -- click any of them to enlarge in a new window.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Holy Moly!

This is a bit offtopic for my blog, but I found this video browsing around Youtube today:

And you thought skydiving was scary! This has to be one of the most spectacularly terrifying things I've ever seen anyone do, and this is coming from a guy who likes to get close to tornadoes.

You can read more about wingsuits -- the kind of garb this guy was using to "fly" over the mountain -- over at Wikipedia. Yikes.

Just Because

This is called "I'm packing my photo gear into my car trunk at my apartment, when suddenly, just for the fun of it, I unpack and assemble my camera and shoot this. And then wonder why"

Friday, February 02, 2007


This is an old black and white abstract photograph of a Kearney, Nebraska alley from back in 2001. This was shot on TMAX & developed by hand.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Josh in the Badlands

An oldie but goodie from 2001. Taken in the Badlands of South Dakota with my trusty Canon EOS-3, Sigma 70-200 2.8, and Fuji Velvia. Click for a 1280px version in a new window.